Qi Gong is all about restoring and maintaining health by enabling a harmonious flow of energy in the body and enhancing the immune system. It is one of the six branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is more than ever of great value to practicing it, in these pandemic times.
Beautiful and slow
What strikes people’s imagination when they see great Qi Gong practitioners is the sheer beauty emanating from their slow and deliberate movements, like the gyrations of a dancer with arms sweeping gracefully in slow motion. There is obviously harmony there. But harmony with what and how?
The circulation of Qi
The basic principles of Qi Gong are not primarily based on a quest for beauty as in ballet dancing, although beauty is an enjoyable result of its practice over time.
Qi Gong is based on enhancing the circulation of energy in the body: the circulation of “Qi”, the circulation of the life force inside of us. There is no direct translation of the Chinese concept of Qi (pronounced Tchi) in Western languages, but for the moment, and for practicality, we will translate it as “energy” or “life-force” or “life-energy” depending on the context. There is no definite spelling of Qi Gong either. Nowadays, however, it tends to be written in two words ‘Qi Gong” or in one word ”QiGong” or ”Qigong” and I will use both spellings interchangeably. It used to be written “Chi Gong” like in Tai Chi, or even Chi Kung or Chi Gung.
Qi Gong: the cultivation of the life force
Qi Gong means “working the Qi” or “ the practice of Qi” which can be understood as “life-energy cultivation”.
When people see Qigong practitioners they can see that they are harmonizing their own energy not only inside themselves but also with the universe, drawing whatever they can inside to become peaceful and calm. It’s not a coincidence that most of the time Qi Gong is practiced in parks, in nature if possible or even better in the wilderness to absorb in ourselves this incredibly beautiful life force and replenish ourselves with it.
Drawing energy from the earth
Qi Gong movements are not there so much for beauty, although beauty results from their practice. They are there to draw energy from the earth. This is the essence of it. There is an amazing, tremendous amount of energy that surrounds us. Our body depends upon it in so many ways and most of the time we are totally unconscious of it. Qi Gong is a conscious form of drawing energy and using it to improve the functions of the body and of the mind as well.
Plants do the same thing and we are not different.
It is no coincidence that Qi Gong is mostly practiced standing up, as if we were trees. We are grounding into the earth through our feet, rooting ourselves in the ground and, at the other extremities, receiving the energy from the sky, the sun, and the universe though our arms and our head, like the trunk of the tree with its branches elevating towards the sky. In this standing position our body becomes an intermediary between the earth and the sky, the positive and negative poles of our systems.
Most of the time we are unconscious of it, and QiGong is a means to become conscious of what is happening inside ourselves in relation to the universe. Plants draw their energy and nutrients from the earth and the sky. We are no different.
Harmonizing with nature
Maybe you would think: “ I know all about it already very well. This is why I like to hike in the mountains so much or to take long walks on the beach. I feel this incredible refill of energy when I am in the wilderness. I replenish myself with the crispy air and this amazing surrounding beauty that nourishes my soul and my body instantly. Why practice QiGong, if I have all this energy and beauty available to me instantly?”
Qi Gong is one of the 6 branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Well, that is all very true and you are already practicing Qi Gong in your own way without knowing it! You are obviously a good candidate to explore it further and discover how the energy circulates in your own body, how you can use this knowledge to heal yourself. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), most illnesses are resulting from blockages and disturbances in the way Qi and the different kinds of energies are circulating through our bodies, how these disturbances can provoke deficiencies or unwanted accumulations – like traffic in a blocked highway – that end up damaging organs and tissues.
Qigong is one of the six branches of TCM along with Acupuncture, Herbs, Tuina (Chinese Massage), Chinese Dietary Medicine and Yang Sheng, the Art of Living and Self Care to foster health and well-being by nurturing one’s own body, mind and spirit.
Balancing and activating energies
The practice of Qigong helps to balance energies within our bodies by filling deficiencies and removing excesses. The practice of Qigong is based on the activation of acupuncture points, meridians, and organ systems, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
It worked for me
Qi Gong is a path towards health. It is not the only one of course, but I can testify that in my case it has been a door that has opened in front of me with great results. It led me not only to practice regularly but also to become an instructor so I can share this practice with others. It also led me to study Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a whole along with its other interconnected 5 branches.
It is a never ending path! It takes time but along the way, you can learn how to heal yourself and to generate more energy. I do not regret one second all the time I spent practicing it and studying it!
Nurturing the candle
According to TCM, we have different kinds of energy circulating in the body. They are renewed and enhanced with proper breathing and nourishment, lifestyle and exercise.
All except one. This particular kind of energy “Jing”, the primal energy of our life – often translated as the “essence of life”- is given to each of us when we are born. But it is like a glass of water that cannot be refilled. At best it can be preserved and cultivated in order not to misuse this precious treasure. Like a candle that is going to burn quickly or not, we can nurture our gift of Jing or disregard it.
Qi Gong is certainly aiming at sustaining it. The experience of beauty, the immersion in great music or the cultivation of our inner peace are certainly helping to foster our primal energy, our life-force, enhancing a very particular vibration in ourselves in relation to nature and the universe. We have all experienced these exceptional moments at least once in our lives, if not many times.
This is how we can keep our candle burning longer – and Qigong is the Art of cultivating it.
Let’s nurture and cultivate together our essence of life and that of the planet!
If you want to know more about Qigong and practice it with me, do not hesitate to contact me.